Controversial comments by Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likening Zionism to crimes against humanity have overshadowed new US Secretary of State John Kerry’s first trip to the Middle East.
Kerry said he had raised the issue with Erdogan and hoped for better ties between Turkey and Israel.
The crisis in Syria was top of the agenda, but NATO missiles on Turkey’s border with Syria, brought around 150 EMEP (Labour Party) protesters out on the streets of Ankara during Kerry’s visit.
“John Kerry has come to Turkey with imperialist ambitions, not friendly intentions. This is proven by the patriot missiles deployed at our borders, as well as the rhetoric about the the prime minister’s AKP party who are in government,” said protester Elif Ergin.
Describing why protesters launched paper planes at the Dutch consulate, Ergin added: “We threw paper planes into the consulate to show that those patriot missiles are little more than paper weapons.”
Turkey is a key NATO ally and Erdogan’s government requested NATO assistance to defend itself from possible attacks from Syria.
The patriot missiles deployed come from the US, Germany and the Netherlands.